Pip Toledo (pictured) putting shoulder in tube.
Pip Toledo (pictured) putting shoulder in tube.

World Surf League releases damningly negative smear of Filipe Toledo’s Pipeline ability ahead of contest resumption: “There has been room for improvement when it comes to surfing heavy barrels.”

Wall of Positive Noise coming down?

I have spent the day traveling and may not be in the very best state of mind, or at least the sharpest, but I think I might have just spotted the very first crack in the World Surf League’s vaunted Wall of Positive Noise.

And any surf fan, worth her salt, is well aware of The Wall. Not one negative thing escapes the mouth, or fingers, of World Surf League broadcasters, copy writers, employees even if it means uttering, or writing, absolute absurdity.

Utter saccharine nonsense.

But look here. I slumped down, minutes ago, at my computer trying to piece out when the Billabong Pipeline Pro will run once more and accidentally stumbled across Six Big Heats To Watch When The Billabong Pro Pipeline Resumes on the lightly trafficked worldsurfleague.com.

Being not in the very best state of mind, or sharpest, I accidentally clicked and skimmed Kelly Slater vs. Jake Marshall, Tati Weston-Webb vs. Moana Jones Wong, Zeke Lau vs. Seth Moniz, Sally Fitzgibbons vs. Malia Manuel before nearly falling off my stool at Filipe Toledo vs. Ivan Florence.

Shall we read together?

It’s no secret that Pipeline is not Filipe Toledo’s strongest venue on Tour. While he’s arguably the fastest, most exciting surfer in the world in high-performance waves, there has been room for improvement when it comes to surfing heavy barrels like Pipe.

Though in his Opening Round heat on Day 1, Toledo looked comfortable, sending it on some hollow, draining waves. But he’s going to have his work cut out for him in Heat 9 of the Round of 32, where he’s up against Wildcard and Pipe local Ivan Florence.

Ivan, John John’s younger brother, looks so comfortable and smooth at Pipe, that there were justifiable comparisons made of him to Pipeline Pioneer and style master Gerry Lopez. Without the pressure of competing for qualification points, he’s going to be a hard adversary for Toledo, the 2021 World Title runner-up to overcome.

It’s no secret that Pipeline is not Filipe Toledo’s strongest venue on Tour?

There has been room for improvement when it comes to surfing heavy barrels?

These statements being released by the WSL is damning.

Absolutely damning.


Joe and Kelly.

Kelly Slater wades into Joe Rogan vs Neil Young Spotify imbroglio, “We are no longer in a democracy and the people have been conditioned to do the government’s dirty work”

"They say truth fears no challenge. And science is constantly changing and being updated.”

The eleven-time world champion Kelly Slater has stuck his lance into the monster skull that is the Neil Young v Joe Rogan imbroglio, amassing an astonishing 4188 likes and a couple hundred replies on a comment below Rogan’s explanatory post.

“Love to see you offer to bring Neil Young and/or Joni Mitchell on with whomever they want by their side to refute whatever it is they’re so pissed about,” wrote Kelly. “If they’re for truth it should be an easy convo. I’ll be looking forward to their replies.”


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A post shared by Joe Rogan (@joerogan)

Slater, who turns fifty in two weeks, took on dissenters with characteristic verve, resting his size thirteen feet on their necks.

To Ben, from Ireland, with four hundred followers, who replied, “If your solo purpose is to get Neil or Joni in on the shore to try and catch them out or make a fool of them then that’s pretty low,” Slater writes,

“The whole point of this is to make Joe look like a fool yet providing no proof to counter him. So it’s somewhat ironic and misguided. Cancel culture wants to control that which it disagrees with instead of having a civil disagreement and good conversation to come to some middle ground. If you’re going to make such a big stink in life about any topic you’d better be able to back it up. But those who scream the loudest often have the most to learn.”

To other posters Slater gives a lovely smile for the camera and delivers the coup de grâce.

“Blocking freedom of speech is a very scary precedent. They say truth fears no challenge. And science is constantly changing and being updated.”

“When the populace start calling for censoring of debate (in which narratives continue to change and ‘facts’ continue to be proven wrong) in order to shut down dissent, we are no longer in a democracy and the people have been conditioned to do the government’s dirty work.”

Is American democracy at its nadir, as Slater suggests, or at an apotheosis, social media and YouTube/music stream platforms an unofficial though wildly effective voting tool?

I vote for the latter.

Bethany Hamilton ain't one to pull back either. | Photo: WSL/Heff

Was the World Surf League’s decision not to let women surf “best Pipeline ever for a competition” an act of chivalry or a throwback to the chauvinism of Girls Can’t Surf?

You either believe or you don't.

The central tenant of last year’s award-winning documentary Girls Can’t Surf was the charge, and it was correct, that menstruating pro surfers though the eighties, nineties and most of the two thousands were given the worst conditions at any given contest. 

As soon as the wind hit or the tide got too low for the men to shred, the beach would clear out and out would go the sport’s legends, Pauline Menczer, Jodie Cooper, Pam Burridge, Wendy Botha etc.

1985’s rookie of the year Jorja Smith says women were forced to surf “this shitty, hell-hole, scum pit [part] of the ocean” .

I slept in a little yesterday, missed half of the men’s first round, but was thrilled by the waves, “best Pipeline ever for a competition” said Doz, and electrified at seeing Pipe regular Moana Jones Wong create history and iconic, impossible-to-argue with shots, arms above head and so on, when the women hit the water. 

The viscosity and abundance of frothy saliva in my greedy jaws, thick as a ball of paste, reflected my animation. 

A fateful day, to be sure.

Didn’t happen. 

We got sixteen men’s heats.

No women. No… talk… even of the women surfing. 

Was it an act of chivalry, the WSL figuring the surf was way above the level of most of the tour’s surfers’ skill? And the magnitude of the looming catastrophe was such that it would destroy any claims for equality? 

Or was it proof that the chauvinism so rightly hit with the spotlight in Girls Can’t Surf hasn’t gone anywhere; that when the waves are perfect, the girls are given the revoltingly slimy end of the stick, so to speak. 

Chivalry or chauvinism? One or the other.

“It was a fucking joke and a disgrace to all equality in sports pushes ever,” one top pro told me.

You either believe or you don’t.

Today, no men, all women, the surf an easy and picture perfect two-to-four-foot, a time, usually, for a lay-day and for tourists and weekend warriors to have a little thrash around at the famous break.

When Moana Wong posted her joy at being awarded a Pipe wildcard yesterday, big-wave legend Ian Cairns, still squirting testosterone even as he nears seventy, wrote: “I hope it’s 10-foot and perfect. You’ll kill it!”

Yeah, she would’ve.



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Rumour: Three-time world surfing champion Gabriel Medina “will never compete again” as a pro surfer: “I saw firsthand everything he suffered (on tour) because I suffered along with him”

"Money is no use if you don't have the health to enjoy it."

The three-time world champ Gabriel Medina, Brazil’s greatest sporting export since Neymar, is rumoured to have, privately, drawn the curtain on his wildly successful professional surfing career. 

One week ago, Medina, who is twenty-eight, quit the tour just before the opening event at Pipe citing mental health issues.

“I have emotional issues that I need to deal with. Recognizing and admitting to myself that I’m not well has been a very difficult process and choosing to take time to take care of myself was perhaps the hardest decision I’ve ever made in my entire life,” he wrote.

Shortly after, Brazil media reported the breakdown of his marriage to thirty-three-year-old Sports Illustrated model Yasmin Brunet and the fire sale of the pair’s beachfront house in Sao Paulo. 

And before all that, there was the estrangement of his mama and step-daddy and a wild feud between his wife and his mama over the existence of a supposed sex tape. 

Now, and from a relatively secure source, Medina will likely “never compete again”.  Sponsorship from Adidas, Corona, Bradesco Bank, phone company Oi, as well as Rip Curl, Oakley and so on, has pushed the champ’s annual income north of five-mill, a hundred gees a week, US,  before he even leaves one of his houses.

In an Instagram post five days ago following his withdrawal from Pipe, Brunet wrote of Medina’s struggles on tour, 

“I have spoken to you here many times about my battles with depression and anxiety. Only those who have any kind of mental disorder know how difficult it is to deal with it. As we live, we learn a lot, for example, without your mental and physical health, you have nothing. They are the most important possessions you have. It’s no use money, it’s no use if you don’t have the health to enjoy it.

“Last year was a very difficult year for me and Gabriel. I’ve said many interviews that anyone else in his place wouldn’t have been able to get where he did, in fact anyone in his place wouldn’t even have gotten out of bed. I saw firsthand everything he suffered because I suffered along with him. I saw him hold back a lot that was extremely unfair to him. Many times we were slaughtered needlessly without even knowing the truth of what they were publishing. 

“A lot of lies were told and we had to swallow a lot of things to not take the focus off the competition because at the end of the day the goal was to make him fulfill his dream of being a three-time champion and we did it.”

What’s Medina got to gain from more orbits of a tour? 

More titles?

More money? 

Or is the animal inside that drove him to three crowns gonna bite hard? 

Jordy Smith (pictured) always a safe bet.
Jordy Smith (pictured) always a safe bet.

Open Thread: Comment Live, Day Two of the Billabong Pipeline Pro!

Thrills, spills, chills (plus Kelly Slater)!

Well yesterday was just a complete and absolute joy was it not? Wrapped beautifully by JP Currie, read here, there was ample surf, fine performances, Joe Turpel replaced by Shaun White, Jordy Smith proving all doubters wrong and you and me all commenting live, all open threading with our best friends.

More today, alongside the National Football League’s NFC and AFC championship games. Watch the World Surf League, though, here or here.

Chat with best friends below.